Betwixters is a poetic and magical journey that leaves you mesmerized in the imagery.
Vanity Fair, France
Laura C. Cantu’s new Betwixters middle-grade series is a series to watch…Book One, Once Upon A Time had me excited for the next in the series.
Blogs New York Times
I just finished Betwixters. It was really fun! I Loved it! Can’t wait for the sequels. I’ve always loved faeries and fantasy stories. I’m a big fan of Piers Anthony. I just loved it! Great characters, and of course, I loved Madison and the way Cantu described her. Dogs truly are pure hearts.
Winner of America’s Got Talent 2007 and Headliner at the Mirage in Las Vegas
This is better than the Anne Rice books I usually read!
I can’t put it down!
Studio 3 on RoKu TV
Warning to parents: Once your kids start reading this book, they won’t want to put it down! You may catch them with a flashlight reading after bedtime! This is a wonderfully enchanting tale of three 12-year-old friends that encounter a faerie in the dark woods near their school, and their lives are changed forever. The author weaves her story with such beautiful prose and descriptions of the characters that make you feel as if you know them and can see everything happening in your mind’s eye.
This is more than a story about faeries, though. It is a story about kids who suffer at the hands of bullies, a story about the difficulties kids encounter from parents and school teachers, and about the power of friendship. It describes characters who display incredible loyalty even in the face of great danger. They work together to save the life of a tiny, magical creature who has lost her way, having slipped through a portal from her world into the realm of human beings. In the meantime, there is an exchange between the characters that allows the reader to enter a world where there is magic in the trees, in our pets and in our hearts.
I enjoyed this book tremendously, I hated for it to end. I look forward to the sequel!
Diana Reed MD
This story is a great read for middle schoolers and even upper primary school advanced readers. The book has three twelve year old protagonists that are best friends, one girl and two boys. They are challenged by bullying, how far you will go for friendship, and facing their fears of letting their parents down. There is fantasy and intrigue tied up in the story, with a generous dose of mystery!
This is the first book in the series and I am anxious to read the next installment. The author does an excellent job of writing to the reading level in that it is easy for middle schoolers but not overly simple for adults. I highly recommend this book for both girls or boys, especially those who face or have faced adversity in school.
As soon as I started reading this book, it instantly reminded me of The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black and Tony Diterlizzi. I read and re-read those books when I was younger; I absolutely loved them. Once Upon a Time had a very similar feel to it with the different magical realms that belonged to humans, faeries, gnomes… In the opening chapter, we see the faerie Neevya and how she lives in her faerie world, and then we see her fly through a portal into the human world.
Even though this book is a middle-grade novel, it didn’t feel like that. The language wasn’t too simplistic, the plot wasn’t boring; everything had a nice balance, and there was also diversity among our three protagonists! Skye is a young, black girl who dreams of being a dancer, Noah is a half-Chinese boy who is fascinated by science, and Ethan is a white, smart and funny boy who loves to tease his friends, but will also do anything for them. I absolutely loved all of the characters, and I felt like each person brought something to the book that kept on making it better. I do think that the secondary characters such as Olivia, Grucker and Scaretaker could have been developed more and I just hope that there is a book two so that this can happen. I would also love to see a novel/novella from Olivia’s point of view as I think that would be so fascinating to see what she dreams, and more importantly, how she copes with them at such a young age.
“He rubbed his eyes, not because he was tired, but because he had been staring at his computer screen for over four hours while playing his new game.” – Laura C. Cantu, Betwixters: Once Upon a Time
The three children go on such an incredible journey, as individuals and as a team. We see them go from being scared of the school bully: Grucker, to finally having enough of keep having to watch their back and standing up to him. There was one moment in this book that really really got to me, and that was when Ethan’s parents went to his school and told the headteacher about the bullying that was going on at her school. And instead of her saying that she didn’t know but she would check it out, she just turned her nose up at the parents and told them not to tell her how to run her school. I thought that this was just so horrible to hear because unfortunately, sometimes it can be the case with some schools; they just don’t want to accept that they don’t have a handle on things. Luckily, Ethan’s parents stuck up for him and shouted at the headteacher which I thought was awesome! The form of ‘the bully’ takes on many forms throughout Once Upon a Time, and I loved reading about how the friends came together to tackle each and every one of them.
I also adored the magical elements of the book. I thought Neevya was such an amazing faerie with a fantastic personality, and I also loved the idea of the chondoras, trolls and demons that plagued the Dern. As I said before, I really really hope that there is a second book, because I need to see what else these kids get up to and I want to find out more about Scaretaker and Olivia.
Betwixters: Once Upon a Time is a brilliant middle-grade novel that is perfect for children from ages eight upwards, and I think it would be a brilliant book to have in school libraries, as it would draw children into the world full of magic and friendship, but also convey brilliant family dynamics that are full of support and love.
Side note: I also LOVED how the book was set in England. It just felt like a breath of fresh air because all of the books that I read are set in America!